Academic journal article Journal of Health and Human Services Administration

Policy Making to Build Relationships: A Grounded Theory Analysis of Interviews and Documents Relating to H1N1, Ebola, and the U.S. Public Health Preparedness Network

Academic journal article Journal of Health and Human Services Administration

Policy Making to Build Relationships: A Grounded Theory Analysis of Interviews and Documents Relating to H1N1, Ebola, and the U.S. Public Health Preparedness Network

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

In the last five years, the American public health emergency preparedness and response system has been tested by two significant threats, H1N1 and Ebola. While neither proved as dangerous as initially feared, these viruses highlighted on-going issues with collaborations in the field of public health and health care. Strengths were identified within the network, but also challenges that must be resolved before the U.S. faces a major pandemic. Employing interview data from public health emergency response practitioners and documentary evidence from the H1N1 and Ebola responses, this qualitative analysis uses the grounded theory approach to identify key areas for collaborative improvement. The grounded theory developed calls for a stronger policy framework at the federal level to facilitate more collaboration between U.S. agencies and facilitate more collaboration at the state and local level.

INTRODUCTION

Between 2009 and 2015, the American public health and health care systems have seen the emergence of two potentially serious challenges, H1N1 influenza and the Ebola virus. The response to these two different but serious health threats highlighted the importance of collaboration and coordination between different levels of government in the U.S., as well as between government and partners in the private and non-profit sector. However, the responses also demonstrated that these collaborations will need to be strengthened in preparation for a more virulent and widespread emergency. This grounded theory qualitative study examines data derived from interviews, government and non-profit organization reports, news accounts, budgetary requests, congressional testimony, and policy documents to examine strengths and challenges in the area of public health emergency preparedness and response and identify key areas for improvement. This is an important field of inquiry as many public health and medical experts believe that the U.S. will eventually have to confront a pandemic of significant magnitude (see Morens, Taubenberger, and Fauci, 2013).

This study will begin with a review of the literature regarding collaboration, in particular collaboration in public health emergency preparedness. This will be followed by a description of the data collection process, which involved interviews and documentary research. The process of grounded theory qualitative analysis will then be described, including the open coding of information, formation of core categories, and development of grounded theory. Finally, the core categories and grounded theory will be discussed in light of the existing literature to discuss how the findings bolster existing knowledge and suggest new approaches to building more collaborative capacity.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Collaboration between levels of government and between government agencies and other public, non-profit, and/or private entities has been a subject of extensive study in the public administration and public health literature. Agranoff and McGuire (2003, 4) define collaborative management as "the process of facilitating and operating in multi-organizational arrangements to solve problems that cannot be solved, or solved easily, by single organizations" (as cited in Kiefer and Montjoy, 2006). Thomson and Perry (2006) write that collaboration "occurs as organizations interact formally and informally through repetitive sequences of negotiation, development of commitments, and execution of commitments" (p. 21). Bryson, Crosby, and Stone (2006) suggest that collaboration can be viewed as an acceptance that we live in a world where power must be shared and that any single government or organization will only enjoy so much success acting alone.

Logsdon (1991) writes that collaboration emerges from recognized self-interest and acknowledged interdependence. The failure of one sector (public, private, or non-profit) to successfully solve a problem is viewed as a necessary precondition for the creation of a collaboration. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.